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Does Mindfulness Work For Reducing Anxiety?

Anxiety has little to do with being in the present moment other than spending that present moment worrying about the future. Getting caught up in anxious thoughts feels like getting lost in an uncontrollable stream of worry, concern, and fear over things which might not even be real. Millions of people live with anxiety and co-occurring disorders like addiction or alcoholism but do not receive treatment. Each day, they live under the rule of their anxiety, which takes a toll physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Recently, Brigham Young University conducted a study on anxiety and the effect of mindfulness in reducing anxiety. Mindfulness helps those with anxiety accomplish three important states. First, it helps them focus on the present moment. Second, it returns them to their breath. Third, it helps them get in touch with their true emotions. “People who are not aware of ‘moment-to-moment experience’ many times void difficult emotions,” the article explains, “This behavior leads to negative thoughts.” It can also lead to a heightened heart rate, rapid thinking mind, and muscle tension.

20 minutes of mindfulness a day can effectively reduce the symptoms of anxiety before, during, and after an anxiety attack or an episode of anxious thinking. Mindfulness practices tend to include focus on the breath. Practicing breathing exercises for anxiety helps increase mindfulness and reduce activity in the brain. Deep and controlled breaths are like a reset button for the brain, especially during anxiety. When we think of being anxious, worried, or afraid, we might notice our heart rate increasing. Anxiety typically does not come with long, deep breaths, but short rapid ones. The cross-signals of the rapid heart rate and short breathing actually trigger the brain’s anxiety further and vice versa.

Breathing For Anxiety

Start by identifying five things in each of your senses while trying to slow down your breath. After you have slowed your mind down with focus, turn your focus to your breath. Try breathing in through your nose for five full seconds, holding it for five full seconds, then letting it out for five full seconds. Repeat this breathing process. You will find that your body is systematically relaxing and your brain is starting to slow down. Soon, your anxious moment will be over and you will be in a clam state of mind.

Anxiety can be a trigger for relapse on drugs and alcohol. Recovery starts with holistic treatment of dual diagnosis issues, targeting mind, body, and spirit for transformative change. Our integrative programs at Enlightened Solutions bring together the best of both worlds, helping our clients find freedom in recovery. For more information, call us today at 833-801-5483.

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